Shows With Contributions by Ellen Blackstone

Merlin App

Using the Merlin Bird ID App

The Merlin Bird ID smartphone app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a free, easy way to help you identify new birds. The app asks a series of simple questions and offers a list of possible birds, along with photos and sounds, to help your identification. The app draws from millions of
Pine Siskin at bird feeder

Responsible Birdfeeding

A clean feeder is a life-and-death matter to some birds. To protect the birds at your feeder, clean it at least once a week, more often if necessary. Rake the ground underneath, too. Pine Siskins are especially prone to salmonellosis, a bacterial disease. You can learn more about feeding
Lammergeier

Gerrit Vyn on the Lammergeier

Sound recordist and photographer, Gerrit Vyn, spent two years in the Peace Corps in the mountains of Lesotho. He worked with a chief named Ntate Letsie in the village of Selemong. His people believed that the Lammergeiers, or Bearded Vultures, that nested on the cliff near their village
Male Peregrine falcon feeding chicks

Father Birds

The male hummingbird leaves the female to build the nest and raise the young alone, but other father birds are more involved. A Peregrine Falcon father shares duties almost evenly with the mother. (Stewart, seen here, nested on a Seattle skyscraper for many years.) But the male Emu of
Northern Flicker and fledgling

Baby Birds - Leave Them Alone

Just because a young bird appears to be alone – whether on the ground or squawking loudly from a bush or tree – doesn't necessarily mean it is sick or injured. In June, young birds, including this juvenile Northern Flicker, are leaving their nests. And most likely, a parent is near-by and
Western Gull chicks

City Gulls - Rooftop Nesters

Juvenile Glaucous-winged Gulls are taking flight over downtown Seattle. In Chicago, young Ring-billed Gulls are heading for Lake Michigan. And before long, juvenile Herring Gulls will be soaring over the Atlantic Ocean. More and more, some gulls are raising their families in the city. They
Susan Freeman

Restoring the Land - An Interview with Susan Freeman

Aldo Leopold, in A Sand County Almanac, described his family's efforts to restore their land to its natural state. Leopold's granddaughter, Susan Freeman, a piano teacher in Seattle, inherited that land ethic. When offered the chance to help restore a watershed on Western Washington's
Wild Turkey

Turkey Calling - Real or Unreal

Preston Pittman won his first turkey-calling contest when he was only 16, and he makes the sounds with his mouth. Sadler McGraw uses the "friction" technique. He pulls a "striker" - almost like a screwdriver - across a crystal surface. It sounds for all the world like a Wild Turkey, and it
Tamaulipas Crow

Unlikely Places to Go Birding

Birding is often best in the least likely places. At sewage treatment plants, watch for ducks and gulls - and raptors keeping watch over them all. Another place might be your local landfill or dump. The Brownsville, Texas dump was, for years, the only place in the US you could find this
Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird has a broad repertoire. It can mimic everything from other birds to inanimate objects. And it does so at all hours of the day and night. As poet Randall Jarrell put it: On the willow's highest branch, monopolizing Day and night, cheeping, squeaking, soaring, The